We talk a lot about Gratitude here on I Am UU, and we want to acknowledge that the topic can be a tricky one. The point of gratitude is not to ignore the things that are really wrong or to placate ourselves by saying that things could be worse; those are not strategies for getting though the hard times with a healthy outlook.The idea that we need to be grateful things aren’t worse actually puts the focus on how bad things can be and rather than inspiring, that outlook often serves to drown our drive to make positive changes. It is a tool of oppressors and bullies and not of beloved community.
Instead, what we want to focus on are our reasons to be hopeful about the future–when things are bad, we can focus on those things that are not bad so that we can see the hope for things to turn around. By being grateful for the talents, the resources, and the opportunities that we do have, we can bolster our resolve to make the most of them. By putting the focus on those things that are in our favor and at our disposal, we can keep looking forward to more things going well.
So, when we talk about gratitude, please don’t think that you aren’t allowed to acknowledge what is wrong int he world; we only ask that you not empower it by letting yourself despair too much. Taking stock of the tools you have to grow and to change things around you puts your attention where it is needed most.